Three Accidental Firings Before Tragedy, Including From Gun Used by Baldwin Stunt Double – Opinion

There’s more troubling information today about the shooting on the set of Alec Baldwin’s movie “Rust,” during which the cinematographer was killed and the director was injured.

According to the LA Times report, there were three misfires with a prop gun. But misfire can mean that the gun didn’t go off when it was supposed to. According to the Times, there were three accidental firings in this instance.

Baldwin’s stunt double accidentally fired two rounds Saturday after being told that the gun was “cold” — lingo for a weapon that doesn’t have any ammunition, including blanks — two crew members who witnessed the episode told the Los Angeles Times.

“There should have been an investigation into what happened,” a crew member said. “There were no safety meetings. There was no assurance that it wouldn’t happen again. All they wanted to do was rush, rush, rush.”

One of his colleagues was so worried about the misfires in the prop guns that he texted the unit production manager. “We’ve now had 3 accidental discharges. This is super unsafe,” according to a copy of the message reviewed by The Times.

While it’s not clear that the gun Baldwin had was one which had previously accidentally fired, it would stand to reason that it would be, since it was accidentally fired by his stunt double. It doesn’t matter if it was. Three accidental discharges without any investigation are a problem. If true, then you’re not talking about someone making one very bad mistake — you’re talking about a systemic issue. And that people knew about it beforehand and didn’t do what needed to be done. It’s no wonder that people walked off the set complaining about safety.

Deadline received another alarming report. “A gun had two misfires in a closed cabin,” a source told Deadline. “They just fired loud pops – a person was just holding it in their hands and it went off.” It’s hard to evaluate that, because you don’t know if the source understands guns or understands what occurred. But guns aren’t just supposed to be going off. It could be an indicator that the prop gun is defective. Given the “two misfires” it also sounds like that’s referencing the incident involving the stunt double and then, perhaps the same gun, Baldwin used. This raises another issue.

Deadline claims that crew members had several concerns about safety and gun safety when they left work. A number of the crew members wrote letters of resignation.

A crew member posted this on Facebook:

“We cited everything from lack of payment for three weeks, taking our hotels away despite asking for them in our deals, lack of Covid safety, and on top of that, poor gun safety! Poor on-set safety period!” a member of the camera crew wrote on a private Facebook page. After the walkout, “They brought in four non-union guys to replace us and tried calling the cops on us.”

These reports were not true, but Rust Movie Producers LLC claimed that in an official statement

Although we weren’t made aware that there were any complaints about weapon and prop safety, production will still be stopped. We will however conduct an internal review to ensure we are following all procedures. We will still cooperate with Santa Fe police in investigating the incident and provide mental health care to cast members and crew.

The company should have been aware that they were leaking on Saturday. How could they not have resolved the problem if they had accidental discharges on Saturday?

Some media are now looking at the young armorer – the person who’s in charge of the weapons – who was on the set, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed. She’s the daughter of a famous armorer, but this was her second job, according to reports.

She described in a podcast last month how she almost didn’t take her first job.

‘I almost didn’t take the job because I wasn’t sure if I was ready, but doing it, it went really smoothly,’ Hannah Gutierrez-Reed said in a podcast interview last month after leading the firearms department for The Old Way, starring Nicolas Cage – her first time as head armorer.

She also admitted in the podcast interview that she found loading blanks into a gun to be ‘the scariest’ thing because she did not know how to do it and had sought help from her father, legendary gunsmith Thell Reed, to get over the fear.

According to the warrant, Gutierrez -Reed had three guns in a cart on the spot. Dave Halls was the assistant director and then grabbed one gun from the cart. He didn’t know that the gun contained live rounds. As we previously noted, ‘live rounds’ doesn’t necessary mean real ammo; ‘live’ is an industry term that refers to a gun being loaded with some material, such as a blank, ready for filming.

Halls yelled, ‘Cold gun!’ before handing the gun to Baldwin, meaning it was safe for the scene. But obviously, it wasn’t.

Right now, the police are still investigating; they haven’t charged or laid blame on anyone. While Halls and Gutierrez-Reed are named in the warrant that isn’t an indication that they are believed to be guilty of anything — it’s just a track of the sequencing of events to know what has to be investigated.

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